Air defense / Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns / ZSU-23-4 Shilka

ZSU-23-4 Shilka

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    Shilka, awl (Russian nickname)

  • DESIGNED
    1957 - 1963

  • DESIGNER
    Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant

  • PRODUCTION
    1965 - 1982

  • PRODUCERS
    USSR - Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant

  • QUANTITY
    About 6.500

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Very large volume of fire
    Able to fire on the move
    Radar fire control
    20 to 30 second target lock time
    Succeptable to ECM
    Only protected from small arms fire

Introduction

The ZSU-23-4 is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1960's to replace the older ZSU-57-2, which was very powerful but lacked radar control and rate of fire. The name ZSU stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, which is Russian for anti-aircraft self-propelled mount. The number 23 indicates the caliber and 4 the number of guns.

Layout

The ZSU-23-4 is based on a tracked chassis with many automotive components similar to the PT-76 light tank. The driver is seated in at the front left, the three man turret is located in the middle and the engine and drivetrain are at the rear. The unusual AZP-23 four gun mount is fitted to the front of the turret with the ammunition boxes on each side. The crew is seated in the middle of the turret and the retractable radar is fitted at the rear.

Firepower

The ZSU-23-4 is fitted with four water cooled 23mm 2A7 autocannon. Each gun has a rate of fire of 850 to 1.000 rpm and is supplied with 500 round of ammunition. This combines to a phenomenal volume of fire of 3.400 to 4.000 rpm. The maximum effective range against both aircraft and ground targets is 2.5 km with a maximum altitude of 1.5 km and slant range of over 5 km. Since the armament is stabilized the ZSU-23-4 is able to fire on the move, albeit at a loss of accuracy.

Fire control

The RPK-2 Tobol radar is located on top of the turret. It has the NATO reporting name Gun Dish. The radar has a search range of 20 km and tracking range of 18 km. A target can be locked in 20 to 30 seconds. An optical sight is fitted for use against ground targets or under ECM conditions.

Protection

Unlike the older ZSU-57-2 the ZSU-23-4 is operated under full armor protection. The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. An NBC system is fitted but smoke grenade dischargers are not.

Mobility

The tracked chassis provides a good all terrain performance, but the speed is somewhat limited. A 280 hp diesel provides propulsion and an APU provides power when the engine is not running. The maximum speed is 50 km/h on roads and about 30 km/h in the field. The maximum range is about 450 km and the ZSU-23-4 is not amphibious.

Users

The ZSU-23-4 was produced in large quantities and is the most produced self-propelled anti-aircraft gun in the world. It was a very common weapon in the USSR and Warsaw Pact nations and was exported to most nations with links to the USSR. In many nations the ZSU-23-4 has been supplemented with newer systems or surface to air missiles, but many remain in service today. It can still be encountered in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Variants

ZSU-23-4

ZSU-23-4 Shilka: Original production vehicle introduced in 1964.
ZSU-23-4V Shilka: Modernized ZSU-23-4 with enhanced reliability and commander's sight introduced in 1968.
ZSU-23-4V1 Shilka: Improved ZSU-23-4 with improved V-6R1 diesel, enhanced stabilization and fire control computer for fire on the move up to 40 km/h instead of the previous 25 km/h. Introduced in 1970.
ZSU-23-4M Biryusa: A ZSU-23-4V1 with improved 2A7M autocannon with longer barrel life and pyrotechnic loading. Introduced in 1973
ZSU-23-4MZ Biryusa: A ZSU-23-4M fitted with IFF system during refit since 1977.
ZSU-23-4M2: Ground support model with night vision sight and without radar for use in Afghanistan. Introduced in 1978. ZSU-23-4V1 Shilka:

TypeSelf-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, radar operator)
Length6.54 m
Width3.13 m
Height2.58 m radar down, 3.57 m radar up
Ground clearance0.4 m
Weight20.5 t combat load
Ground pressure0.69 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 2.67 m track, 3.8 m length, 0.36 m width
Turn radius?
EngineModel V-6R 6-cylinder diesel, 280 hp at 2.000 rpm
Power ratio13.7 hp/t
TransmissionManual, 5 forward, 1 reverse
Speed50 km/h on road
Fuel250 L
Range450 km
Wall1.1 m
Trench2.8 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1.1 m
ArmorSteel, 15 mm glacis, 15 mm hull sides, 9 mm turret front, sides and rear
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
RemarksRPK-2 Tobol radar with 20 km search and 18 km tracking
Armament4x 23mm 2A7 autocannon
Weapon14x 2A7 autocannon in AZP-23 mount
2.000 rounds, all ready to fire
-4 to +85° elevation, 60°/s powered
360° traverse, 70°/s powered
stabilized in both axis
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

ZSU-23-4 upgrades

ZSU-23-4M4: Russian upgrade available since 1999. Includes two pair of launchers for Igla or Igla-1 surface to air missiles and improved radar system.
ZSU-23-4M5: Belarussian upgrade with improved drive train, digital fire control, improved radar, laser range finder and new APU.
ZSU-23-4MP Biala: Polish upgrade that includes digital fire control, optronic detection system with TV and thermal imaging instead of radar, two twin launchers for Grom surface to air missile, auxiliary power unit and new radios. Introduced in 2000.

TypeSelf-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, radar operator)
Length6.54 m
Width3.12 m
Height2.60 m radar down
Ground clearance0.40 m
Weight19.2 t combat load
Ground pressure0.65 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 2.88 m track, 3.70 m length
Turn radius?
EngineModel V-6R 6-cylinder diesel, 280 hp at 2.000 rpm
Power ratio14.6 hp/t
Transmission5 forward, 1 reverse
Speed60 km/h on road
Fuel250 L
Range400 km
Wall1.1 m
Trench2.8 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording?
ArmorSteel, 15 mm glacis, 15 mm hull sides, 9 mm turret front, sides and rear
NBC equipmentYes, overpressure
Night visionYes
Smoke8 to 12x 81mm smoke grenade discharger
RemarksRPK-2 Tobol radar with 20 km search and 18 km tracking, optical tracking system with 7.5 km range, laser range finder
Armament4x 23mm 2A7M autocannon
Weapon14x 2A7M autocannon in AZP-23 mount
2.000 rounds, all ready to fire
-4 to +85° elevation, 60°/s powered
360° traverse, 70°/s powered
stabilized in both axis
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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